Title: Symbolic AI in a Machine Learning World

Speaker: Prof. Alon Halevy, the Director at Facebook AI

The key technical problems that online social networks focus on today are detecting policy violating content (e.g., hate speech, misinformation) and ranking content to satisfy their users’ needs. By nature, these problems are somewhat vague and need to handle multi-modal content in many languages, and therefore do not naturally lend themselves to AI techniques based on declarative representations and reasoning. However, the machine learning techniques that are employed also have some drawbacks, such as the fact that it is hard to update their knowledge efficiently or to explain their results. In this talk I will outline a few opportunities where methods from symbolic AI, combined appropriately into the machine learning paradigm, can ultimately have an impact on our goals. As one example, I will describe Neural Databases, a new kind of database system that leverages the strength of NLP transformers to answer database queries over text, thereby freeing us from designing and relying on a database schema.